Author: vmt7

BSAW Workshop with
Mendi + Keith Obadike

Friday, December 7

469 College Street

Stoeckel Hall Rm 106

Food and drink provided.

Mendi + Keith Obadike are two of the most pathbreaking artists of their generation. They make art, music, and literature, and they have exhibited and performed at a range of venues including The New Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art. Bold, innovative, daring, and awe inspiring, their work explores, among other things, the complexities of blackness and sonic cultures, technology and racial capitalism, futurity, historical memory, and the entanglements between race and new media. Since 1996 they have been making conceptual Internet art and sound art works together.

Some of their best known works include “My Hands/Wishful Thinking” (2000) an Internet art memorial for Amadou Diallo; their 2002 internet opera The Sour Thunder (Bridge Records, Inc.) which featured hypertext writings by literary critic Houston Baker, performance artist Coco Fusco and musician DJ Spooky among others; and their epic masterpiece, the internet opera entitled Four Electric Ghosts, which was developed for Toni Morrison’s Atelier at Princeton University in 2005 and the Kitchen in New York in 2009. In 2008 they produced a compilation CD entitled Crosstalk: American Speech Music on Bridge Records. The album features music by Vijay Iyer, Guillermo E. Brown, Shelley Hirsch, George E. Lewis, Pamela Z, John Link, Paul Lansky, Tracie Morris, DJ Spooky, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Peter Gordon/Lawrence Weiner. A number of their projects include a series of large-scale, public sound art works: Blues Speaker (for James Baldwin) at The New School, Free/Phase at the Chicago Cultural Center & Rebuild Foundation, Sonic Migration at Scribe Video Center & Tindley Temple, Philadelphia and Compass Song, an app for Times Square (commissioned by Times Square Arts). Their recent museum exhibitions include the group shows Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) at The Whitechapel Gallery in London, I Was Raised on The Internet at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the upcoming PROGRAMMED at The Whitney Museum of American Art. They are currently serving as the first artists in residence at Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn. With the unveiling of their installation Utopias: Seeking for A City, the artists ask visitors to think about what songs and stories were in the minds of the people who created Weeksville and other intentional communities.

Keith received a BA in Art from North Carolina Central University and an MFA in Sound Design from Yale University. He is a professor in the College of Arts and Communication at William Paterson University and serves a digital media editor at Obsidian. Mendi received a BA in English from Spelman College and a PhD in Literature from Duke University. She is currently an associate professor in the Writing Department and the Department of Humanities and Media Studies and she directs the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute.

BSAW Workshop
with Rhiannon Giddens
and Francesco Turrisi
Tuesday, November 13 | 4pm

Photo Credit: Karen Cox

Join us, just ahead of our public program, for this special workshop session with Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi discussing the historical movements of “world” music.

Tuesday, November 13
469 College Street
Stoeckel Hall Room 106
Yale University
*Reception with food and drink to follow

“There is no ‘Other'”: Minstrelsy as World Music”

There is a contemporary notion that “world” music is a recent phenomenon but in fact music has always been global. Just as foodways and artistic techniques have travelled trade routes for thousands of years, so too has music. American musician Rhiannon Giddens and Italian instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi will explore the journeys of the banjo and the tambourine (or tamburello), respectively, from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa, and how they ended up meeting in America in the 1800s as a part of the massive cultural phenomenon that was the minstrel show.

An evening with
Tuesday, November 13 | 7pm

Photo credit: David McClister

Join us for an evening of critical listening with Grammy Award winning Roots Americana musician and MacArthur Fellow


in conversation with BSAW co-directors Professor Daphne A. Brooks (African American Studies, Theater Studies, American Studies, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies) and Professor Brian Kane (Department of Music)

Tuesday, November 13
Sudler Recital Hall
Second Floor | W.L. Harkness Hall
Yale University
100 Wall Street
New Haven, CT

Free and open to the public!

Rhiannon Giddens is the co-founder of the GRAMMY award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, in which she also plays banjo and fiddle. She began gaining recognition as a solo artist when she stole the show at the T Bone Burnett– produced Another Day, Another Time concert at New York City’s Town Hall in 2013. The elegant bearing, prodigious voice, and fierce spirit that brought the audience to its feet that night is also abundantly evident on Giddens’ critically acclaimed solo debut, the Grammy nominated album, Tomorrow Is My Turn, which masterfully blends American musical genres like gospel, jazz, blues, and country, showcasing her extraordinary emotional range and dazzling vocal prowess.

Giddens’ follow-up album Freedom Highway was released in February, 2017. It includes 9 original songs Giddens wrote or co-wrote along with a traditional song and two civil rights-era songs, Birmingham Sunday and Staple Singers’ well-known “Freedom Highway,” from which the album takes its name. She is the recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant.

Presented by Yale’s Black Sound & the Archive Working Group (BSAW)

320 York Humanities

An evening with Kevin Beasley
Thursday, October 4, 7:30pm
Yale School of Music
Hendrie Hall, Room 201
165 Elm Street, New Haven

Kevin Beasley (b. 1985 Lynchburg) is a New York-based artist whose work and performances have been shown internationally. His practice engages history and cultural nuance through diverse media, including sculpture, sound and performance. Since 2012, these works have been developed as process-lead explorations in which materials, audio and residue are altered, cast, distorted and rebuilt. Specifically, his approach to sound ruptures the auditory, implicating the body. As Thomas Lax writes in Artforum, “Beasley’s absenting presence—presence as voice, as indexical mark, presence that may be active and collective or haunted, spectral, and deferred—strategically negotiates the reality of being an embodied subject who cannot elide the dangers of subjection or its historical and political specificities.”

In recent years, Beasley has exhibited his work at institutions and site-specific venues such as Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial (2018); Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, MA (solo) (2018); The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, as part of Hammer Projects (solo) (2017); In 2017, CounterCurrent17 in conjunction with Project Row Houses and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, University of Houston, TX (2017); The Studio Museum in Harlem, Morningside Park, New York (solo) (2017); and The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (2016). Beasley has performed at venues such as Lincoln Center, New York (2016); The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2016); The High Line (2015); Casey Kaplan, New York (2015); The Dallas Museum of Art (2015); The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); and The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012). His work is held in the collections of TATE, London; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Studio Museum Harlem, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. Beasley is slated to present a solo exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art in December 2018. The artist lives and works in New York.

Roshanak Kheshti
Lecture and Workshop
March 1 and 2


Public Talk | “We See With The Skin: Zora Neale Hurston’s Synesthetic Hermeneutics”



Workshop | “Cat Face on Bleeding Pine”


Roshanak Kheshti is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and affiliate faculty in the Critical Gender Studies Program at UC San Diego. Her first book Modernity’s Ear: Listening to Race and Gender in World Music (NYU Press, 2015) is an examination of the form of listening promoted by the US world music culture industry through which the modern listening subject is produced. Her research broadly centers on the consumption of race, gender and sexuality through sound and film. She is currently working on two monographs: Switched on Bach for the 33 1/3 series as well as “We See With The Skin: Zora Neale Hurston’s Synesthetic Hermeneutics, which is a media archaeology project exploring Zora Neale Hurston’s ethnographic work across various media. Her scholarship has appeared in the Radical History Review, American Quarterly, Anthropology News, Parallax, Feminist Studies, GLQ, Theater Survey, and Sounding Out!.

Presented with support from the 320 York Humanities Programming Endowment and the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM).



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